China on alert over likely Covid relapse ahead of winter: Report

Beijing, Nov 13
Chinese experts have sounded an alert about the relapse of COVID-19 infections during the current winter season and asked elderly and vulnerable populations to get vaccinated.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Chinese CDC) shows that a total of 209 new severe COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths caused by COVID-19 were reported across the country in October, with the prevalent strains all being XBB variants, official media reported on Monday.
China's top respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan warned of a small COVID-19 spike in the winter and reminded the elderly and vulnerable populations to get vaccinated as soon as possible, state-run Global Times reported.
The virus is undergoing mutations, while the general population's ability to fight off the disease is declining because their antibody levels are lowering as time passes, Lu Hongzhou, head of the Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen, told the Daily.
According to Lu, there may be a rise in COVID-19 cases during the winter seasons.
Also, autumn and winter are known for high influenza rates, so people should also be cautious of potential co-infections, according to Lu.
While it is still necessary to continue implementing prevention and control measures in the winter season, there is no need to be overly concerned about it, said Lu.
The coronavirus which first emerged in Wuhan towards the end of 2019 had spiralled into a massive pandemic in which millions of people died all over the world while it affected the health of millions more.
China steadfastly denied the allegations that the virus that shook the world was leaked from a bio-lab in Wuhan.
While the world grappled with the fast-emerging variants of coronavirus, China disconnected itself from the rest of the world by banning or restricting flights from abroad.
At home, China resorted to periodic shutdowns of various cities including Shanghai which severely affected its economy.
As a result, the world's second-largest still remained in slowdown mode despite various efforts by the government to revive it.
As the winter approached, apart from the risk of COVID-19 infection, there has been a high incidence of mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia (MPP) and influenza in recent weeks, the CDC said and cautioned about mixed infection of multiple respiratory pathogens until next spring, the Global Times report said.

   Press Trust of India